Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Sometimes, a long break is needed in life before you pick things up again. So it was with this blog. In the last several years, I have become a partner in another business, seen my business continue to grow, become a regular writer for a variety of news papers (all local and small, but maybe moving to the idea of a syndicated column), deepened my commitment and relationship with my husband and generally lived what lots of people call "a dream." As far as I am concerned, I have been in a peak of my life. While I know their are peaks and valleys throughout our life, I am definitely enjoying the peak. What has been new with you?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Show Pony or Work Horse?

Are you a "Show Pony" or a "Work Horse?" Both of these types of people have pros and cons and most businesses need a mixture in both leadership and follwership of these types. What spells trouble is when a department or business becomes filled with only one type!

Show Ponies are known for their dazzling sense of panache, fashion and latest grasp of technology. They are often on the cutting edge and are trendsetters. In groups they often draw attention to themselves while highlighting their friends. Imagine that friend of yours that is always "on stage." Frequently concerned about appearances, the Show Pony likes to be part of a group that lavishes attention on them. They in turn become evangelists for those things which interest them. What is great about the Show Pony is the amount of energy they bring to any given venture. Their enthusiasm is infectious and before you know it, large groups of people a drawn to them like moths to a flame. Show Ponies are actually pertty easily bored, and if it isn't about them, they generally have the attention span of a fruit fly. They flit from concept to concept, group to group and fad to flash.

Work Horses on the other hand are plodding, deliberate, consistent and are highly stable. They tend to show up and get it done. They may not be innovative or insightful, but just keep working. They know they aren't the Show Pony and sometimes that may bother them. They often don't understand why more people don't see their value, after all, they do most of the work, right? Work Horses don't need an entourage and frequently disparage those they perceive as Show Ponies in private (often with other Work Horses), but secretly want the accolades that seem to come to the Show Pony. On the plus side, Work Horses rarely complain about tasks given to them and understand their own limitations far more quickly than others. They tend to be more mature in their decision-making and will admit to being wrong more easily than some.

There are two sub-breeds which are quite rare.

The Work Pony, is the individual who often has their reach exceed their grasp, much to their surprise. Often young and inexperienced (literally or mentally), they simply don't understand their own limitations and preconceptions. Many of us have already gone through this as a phase, but unfortunately for some of us, we never move beyond it.

Finally is the Show Horse. This type not only has the strength to get it done, they get it done in style. They lead by example, often perform the tasks that others think are "beneath them" and still manage to make it seem "cool." Many successful entrepreneurs I know fall into this category. They manage to just always seem to get it done and get it done in style.

I haven't come up with a test for this yet, but would be interested in your thoughts on it!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Macau Fitness

So one of the most important things both Anthony and I have to evaluate when we are in a city is of course, the gym. Thankfully, Anthony had spent the last several months checking out facilities and found by far the best one in Macau.

Recently opened by General Manager Pavlo Lysenko (who by the way, is huge and looks awesome - really bodybuilder big and incredibly nice and helpful - always a plus in my book), and Managing Director Norika Chio, this facility is actually a direct result of their success with Power Nutrition Macau. This is a state of the art facility with over 16,000 square feet and a full range of machines, free weights, class space and equipment.

When I asked them about Crossfit, they don't have much experience with it. It follows a traditional 24 hour / Gold's gym formula. They do have an extensive line of nutritionals and a really helpful staff. Of particular note is Alexander Chan, who signed us up, and Pedro Gomes. Both Pavlo and Luis Machado are trainers in the facility and watching Pavlo train was both inspiring, and he was clearly knowledgeable. Both Anthony and I also like to train where some serious muscle is, and we actually saw some here. Couple of guys training for competition, a few who are obviously in some of the casino shows and women who were also at the same level.

Good music, tanning and modern, western style facilities (think ala Equinox) rounded out a really good experience. I know that I will be back and if Yelp or Google Places let me leave a review here, I would.

Thanks again to all at the gym!

Friday, May 6, 2011

A Powerful No

Earlier this week, I went to a great seminar (part of the EDGE Series by the SB Chamber) by Chellie Campell on "Financial Stress Reduction." Though the seminar actually ended up being not at all what I expected, I still thought it was amazing. She made one incredibly powerful statement that I felt obligated to blog about:

Without a powerful NO, your yes is meaningless.

That is pretty profound. How often do we as people say "yes" when we really want to say "NO!!!" I would even go so far as to say FUCK NO!

We need to take back not in a negative way, but an assertive way, our own ability to limit our commitments. There is plenty of rhetorical and righteous "no's" out there. I find them most odious when uttered by the religious zelots or ultra conservative/liberal pseudo-intellectuals who feel that their "no" is somehow superior to others.

I would challenge you to simply offer a strong, firm NO when you need it next. It doesn't make you a bad person. I just makes you clear and your YES more meaningful.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Generating content

You know, the effort involved in generating meaningful content is substantial. Both of my parents are artists, so I would have thought that I would have come to this realization much earlier in my life.

I had thought because I enjoy the activities of speaking, writing and oration, it would be effortless. Nothing could be further from the truth. Actually, if I am being critical, simply speaking or writing without point is simple and relatively effortless. Writing and speaking cogently, effectively and clearly is what requires the effort.

A client recently told me that most content generated in the English speaking world needs to be done at approximately an 8th grade level. I find this a bit troubling. Are we so incapable of reading? Is our vocabulary so limited?

It is truly shocking how repetitive we are in our patterns of communication. Not that Wikipedia is the end all of information, but this link provides some interesting facts on our language:


What do you think of your language level? How often do you write or speak in a way that isn't casual? On average, I write 50+ emails a day, at least one professional document/article/communication and take at least 10 phone calls. In a week, I will likely speak publicly or in a meeting format a dozen or more times. I don't feel this is a great deal, but I do feel the effort during preparation and in the record keeping.

Blogging and Patch.com

Well, I was approached by Patch.com to begin blogging for them. Perhaps this will drive some motivation into me to move forward.

You should be able to see me shortly on http://losalamitos.patch.com/

That or perhaps the soundtrack of "Requiem for a Dream" will provide inspiration. I am certain something will with Anthony in Macau for the next 10 weeks!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Incredible family fun

So I had the opportunity to go up to the Russian River valley this past weekend to spend time with my "Charming & Gracious" stepmom, Barbara for her 60th birthday. She and I have a very special relationship, as we have both made a conscious choice to be in each other's life. She was married to my dad from the time I was 4 to 16. Pretty important years. Regardless, she is simply a delight.

What made this time so special, beyond her presence was the joy of the people involved. She is simply fabulous. Hats off to you girl! Happy birthday and I am so thankful we are in each other's lives.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Traveling & Comfort

I can't say enough about JetBlue. They continue to delight me on my recent trips to Miami and Washington, DC. On both flights, I had the entire exit row to myself and their pre-boarding process for all of those in EML (Even More Legroom) seats is fabulous. On both flights, passengers asked to move to those seats and were graciously denied, indicating that you have to prepay for the seats prior to boarding and can't be moved. Best $50 per flight that I spent!

I also found due to their endless snacks, I felt good about my nibbles, comfortable getting additional beverages as needed and felt renewed and refreshed upon arrival at every destination.

Why don't we remember the little things with our own clients? Make sure that we can provide simple but appreciated amenities in our offices, work spaces and be courteous of other's comfort. If we get a little kindness and comfort, the probability is we will pass it forward in our next interaction, making everyone more relaxed and ready to get the objectives done.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Making it on Main Street

It’s a new year and like many Main Street, USA locations, there are changes on ours. What allows a business to “make it” over time? Surely there are some lessons to be learned from various businesses that have flourished over the years.
I took some time to talk to business owners who have been in town for years and those who have taken over long term businesses. Others, who are relatively new had other things to add to the mix.
Just in the last few years, I have seen dozens of businesses go out or change locations: Gee’z, Minx, the Alley, Cinnamon Productions, Grandma’s Cookies, Gallery 212, Barbara’s Beauty, Old Town Travel, White Sage, and the list goes on and on.
Still others have changed hands and flourished, like Bay Hardware. Diana Brunjes, the new owner said, “There is a camaraderie here in town that I haven't ever experienced before, we all [businesses] want to see one another succeed. Main Street is very lucky to have such a large variety of unique and eclectic shops. Sure, the beach helps, but I think it's the shops and restaurants that keep people coming back.” So diversity as a whole and the fact that we look out for each other, as a community is key.

Tarit Tanjisari, owner of Crema Café also felt that focusing on the basics: food quality and customer service have been keys to success. “By trying to delight the customer every time they eat with us, we get them back. We provide not just great food, but an experience they want to share and repeat. Plus, who doesn’t love fresh baked pastries?” In just four years, Tarit and his team has made the Crema Café a destination regionally for epicureans. Just look at his Yelp page! This in turn spills over to other businesses as customers not only dine, but shop and stroll our entire Main Street corridor.
Joe Kalmick, has been a shop owner on Main Street for over 30 years. Recently moving his shop from one side of Main to the other in the 200 block, he looks back and realizes what others haven’t, “businesses have failed because they didn’t match their dreams with the reality of the overhead. What does it cost to open your doors each day?” He also makes a conscious effort to connect with customers so they feel appreciated. “You have to make every effort to have each customer come back. In a town this size, we love the local business and we need to attract shoppers from outside of our own community. Give them a reason to come back.”

Another key seems to be referrals. Joe makes a point of highlighting belinda’s Art on Glass. He will refer business out to her and vice versa as the customers needs might change. belinda also has produced the Arts & Crafts Fair for years, and this level of community engagement has helped maintain her business as one of the art resources for miles around.

Who hasn’t noticed the incredible success of Gabe and Lena Gordon and Beachwood BBQ? They have created a niche and filled to capacity, every night they are open. Actively engaged in bringing their unique approach to basic commodities – beer and barbeque, they have the “Hop Cam” and Twitter feed showcasing what they have on tap. There is a fresh, vibrant energy in their restaurant which invites you back to try new things, like their Alligator & Tasso Stew or such an epicurean brew as Midnight Sun Monks Mistress (sounds tantalizing even as I read it from the cam). Keeping things new and fresh also seems to help a business stay alive in our Main Street.

With fresh and new, there must also be tried and true. Clancy’s, the Irisher, Hennesey’s & O’Malley’s, the “Four Horsemen of St. Patrick’s Day,” all have survived and flourished for decades. They are the good, old stomping grounds for many locals and those who come back to Seal Beach during college breaks or when visiting family in town. Often an impromptu meeting of classmates or reunions can be found at these spots.

Other fresh new expansions like Jacqueline’s Boutique and her second store, just a block away, Ensemble, both are bringing in destination shoppers from all around. French and European flair draw customers in. Recently, she shared with the community a fashion show with both professional and amateur models in her outfits. Again, it is the effort of creating excitement which helps propel her businesses to new heights.

Erik Dreyer-Goldman, of Ask Erik Computer Services has been in two locations – both the 100 and 300 blocks of Main Street. While he enjoyed, the 100 block, as a service provider, the 300 block seems to suit him better. “Most of the 300 block are destination businesses, while the 200 block and down to the pier could be considered more ‘walk in.’ Regardless, the longer you’re in business on Main Street, the more likely it is that you’ll get repeat business if you’re good at what you provide.”
Finally, it is clear that both locals and visitors need to use all of our businesses for them to stay viable. Keep true to your dream, keep your feet on the ground and your ear to your customers and you, like the success stories above, will make it.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Blessings of Sunny Weather

I mentioned about a year ago the impact weather has on business and this weekend is another example. Today in Seal Beach is breathtaking - 76F, clear blue skys and dry (but not Santa Anas). The air feels fresh and clean and the day is one of shorts and t-shirts. Nights are cool and crisp. Got to love So Cal!